Bangers and mash with onion gravy

This was Thursday night’s tea. I am a big fan of sausages, so much so that I have volunteered my services to be a judge for Shropshire’s Tastiest Sausage this Tuesday.  I will tell you all about it when it’s all over. Back to our tea, bangers and mash is a classic combination and for very good reason, it’s the ultimate comfort food with fluffy mash, savoury sausages and rich onion gravy. I roast my sausages in the roasting oven of the Aga rather than grilling them, but really it’s the same thing. The onion gravy depends on getting the onions to caramelise and for this a slow cook over a gentle heat makes them meltingly tender and then a short blast over a medium heat finishes off the caramelisation.  Make sure you use the best quality sausages that you can afford, your local butchers are usually your best bet for a really good sausage.

Serves 2
4 medium-sized potatoes, peeled and cut into quarters
20g butter
6 sausages

For the onion gravy:
1 medium onion, peeled, cut in half and sliced thinly
25g (1oz)butter
2 tbsp plain flour
glug of Marsala or Madeira wine
(275 ml) ½ pint  hot stock ( I used chicken because that is what I had in the freezer)


First start the gravy by putting 25g of butter to melt in a large pan and add the onion.  Cook the onions over a gentle heat until very soft and translucent. Turn the heat up and stir the onions in the pan until browned at the edges. Stir in the flour until it has been soaked up by the buttery onions and add the Marsala, stirring all the time.  Add the stock gradually, still stirring until the gravy is smooth.  Allow the gravy to simmer for five minutes or so until thickened.  Season with salt and pepper.

Whilst the onions are cooking, put the sausages onto a grill rack on a baking tray and place under a medium grill or into an oven preheated at 200°c and cook for 25-30 minutes until nicely browned all over.

Whilst the onions and sausages are cooking, place the potatoes in a saucepan and cover with cold water.  Bring up to a boil and simmer until a knife can be inserted easily all the way through. Drain and place the potatoes and 20g of butter back into the hot pan and allow the butter to melt over the potatoes. Mash with a potato masher or ricer until really smooth and creamy.

Serve the mash, sausages and gravy on warmed plates and enjoy.

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Swaddled toad in the hole

It’s cold outside so a toad in the hole needs a blanket to keep him cosy. The sausages are wrapped in streaky bacon in my toad in the hole to make the dish even more substantial and warming on a cold, dark night.

We had this for tea last night with peas and onion gravy and it was very good indeed.

You can also use pancetta or parma ham to wrap the sausages.  The batter is the one I use for my yorkshire puddings.

8 sausages
4 rashers of streaky bacon
100g (4oz) plain flour
2 eggs
225ml (8 fl oz) milk
a little lard or oil


Cut each bacon rashers in half and stretch slightly.  Wrap a rasher around each sausage.  Place into a large rectangle baking dish (mine measures 32cm x 23cm) with the lard or oil and place in a preheated oven at 200°c (gas mark 6) for five minutes so that the oil gets hot.

In the meantime measure the flour into a bowl or large jug, make a well in the centre and add the eggs and a little of the milk and whisk to a smooth batter, add the rest of the milk and mix well.  The batter should be the consistency of single cream.  You won’t need salt if you are using bacon but if you aren’t using bacon you may need a pinch of salt in the batter.

Fetch the sausages out of the oven and pour the batter evenly over.  Place back into the oven and cook for 25-30 minutes until everything is golden.

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Chicken Bombe

chicken bombe

This recipe is one that my mum often makes.  I will be making it this weekend for my daughter’s fifth birthday party.  Her birthday parties offer us a chance to gather both adults and children and this year we are expecting the usual 60 odd people.  I keep promising myself that I will one year do a birthday tea for her and five friends, but any excuse for a party…
(The pic above is the one I cooked for the party, using twelve rashers of bacon, six sausages and six chicken breasts – 4 on the bottom and 2 on top.  I cooked it for 2¼ hours)
Mum’s Chicken Bombe
This is a really delicious combination. It makes a lovely sunday roast and any left over slices beautifully when cold for sandwiches in the week. It’s chicken, stuffed with sausage meat and sage and onion stuffing and then wrapped in bacon.
4 chicken breasts
4 sausages
6-8 rashers of middle bacon
Breadcrumbs (2-3 thick slices)
1 onion
1 dessertspoon dried sage or about 8 fresh leaves
1 egg
salt and pepper

Kitchen string 4 long lengths
Make the stuffing by placing all of the stuffing ingredients in a food processor and process until combined.
Lay the string horizontally on a board and lay the bacon rashers vertically on top of the string.  Place two chicken breasts on top of the bacon.  Squeeze the sausage meat out of the skins and spread evenly over the chicken and spread the stuffing evenly on top of the sausage meat.  Place the remaining two chicken breasts on top and then bring the bacon rashers up over the chicken trying to cover it all and secure by wrapping the string over and tying securely.

Place onto a roasting tray and sprinkle with olive oil.  Roast in a preheated oven at 180°c (350°f, Gas Mark 4) for 1½hour.  Check that the chicken is thoroughly cooked by piercing with a skewer and if the juices run clear then it’s cooked.

Leave to rest for 15 mins before slicing if serving hot and if serving cold then leave to cool and refrigerate until ready to slice.  You can make it a day ahead.

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